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Shaleph on “What is Art?” and “What kind of collaboration could we artistically produce?”

Filed under: — Ann Light @ 5:50 pm

Only Shaleph O’Neill at Napier was brave enough to attempt to answer the two questions I posed to kickstart a discussion on the Leonardo-Net list about the issues raised at the first workshop. His response was worth putting somewhere less ephemeral than email, especially as it makes recommendations for the next workshop. Should anyone now feel inspired to take on his points, please use the comment facility.

1.what is art?

The problem with this question is that nearly the whole of 20th century art practice was centered around it, in that the pre-conceptions of what art is i.e. established traditions became challenged and subsequently over run to the point where what was considered to be art was the very nature of challenging what ever ideas about art that had gone before. So challenging preconceived ideas about art is still very central to art practice. Similarly there is the role of the artist as shaman or outsider, whose place in the culture in which s/he lives is to reflect on the culture that surrounds her. I think this notion of reflective practice is central to what we are exploring here.

I think, and people may disagree with me here, that the kind of computer technology we are dealing with here represents a new medium for artist/ performers. The BIG problem as I see it is that only people who have particular skill sets know how to make things with them. Artists engage with their materials bringing ideas to it and deriving ideas from it in a playful reflective way. I think sometimes it is difficult for artists to engage in this way with such new media (particularly media that requires a lot of coding, perhaps).

2. What kind of collaboration could we artistically produce?

For us what our art is will be determined by our engagement with the material. Therefore I would strongly propose having perhaps one workshop (maybe even the next one, be good to do this early so we can reflect on it) that is based around some kind of system as material. This would have to take place in a media lab that has interesting existing equipment/resources. I think the motion capture equipment is a really interesting avenue to pursue. Some of the themes I remember coming out were about space, place, performance and embodiment. In just about all the art that I can think of the body is central to either its production or the forms of its representation. Starting with the body and its relationship to these new technologised spaces I think is a very interesting idea.

It would be good to have some equipment available with some experts who know how to manipulate it, quickly. We could work collaboratively during a workshop conducting artistic experiments (trying things out and reflecting on them). This would be an interesting exercise for everyone. It would also be an excellent opportunity to document what goes on during this process. Much of this documentation will undoubtedly feed into our creative processes also providing material for others within the group to produce other art works.


Ideas for Future Workshops

Filed under: — Ann Light @ 10:19 pm

Here are ideas that came out of one of the working groups at the first workshop in York (thanks to Ian Gibson for sending them on)

Ideas for themes:
1. How is power and sexuality replicated in technology, and how does this impact on our culture? How does it influence our values with regards to sexuality and power?
2. Positioning/re-positioning of relationships. How does technology change/re-position relationships (e.g. embodiment versus disembodiment)?

Two suggestions were made for non-conventional formats for workshops:
1. People could contribute by bringing in an object relating to a theme and speaking about it from their perspective.
2. People may wish to “job swap” for a day (or more?!!) thereby helping them to learn about design concepts across disciplines.

More news of the next workshop will be posted here soon.

Ideas for the Artwork

Filed under: — Ann Light @ 10:15 pm

Here are some thoughts on the nature of the artwork, developed by one working group at the first workshop in York (sent on after the event by Wibke Hott of FACT – thanks!):

* get artist involved
* artwork must reflect network therefore the network needs to be up and running to enable us to capture the ‘spirit’ of the network, might take some time to recognise it. However, with a first ‘draft’ of the artwork scheduled for Sept 05 this might be sufficient time.
* artwork must be flexible, able to grow, things should be added on, maybe software?
* rather than ONE artwork, we would prefer an exhibition of multiple pieces
* art work must have strong identity
* Where will it be? Online? Touring? The artwork must stay accessible through time, space and different formats
* how about software that will create life performance that can be streamed live over the web then be ‘parked’ on the Leonardo net website for visitors/users to download/watch. But software is also available for visitors/users to download and create their own version with; i.e. a version per node/location of nodes…
* How about an ‘art making machine”, a machine that ‘performs’ art (see: acting rather than being, giving the impression of art, imitating art…? A machine that develops random inventions, ideas, Leonardo ideas, an idea generator!!! Could look clever but use pre-existing blocks, could ‘learn’ and improve its products. The framework of the machine/software/game is the way, it’s about choosing the path of evolution
* The Leonardo Game!!! A virtual/online copy that can be played by multiple users in various locations and a ‘real’ version that will help Leonardo-net members make important decisions.
* Or maybe a machine that you feed with an idea and it spits out a funding application…?
* Squirrels, sort of Squirrel-bot that gives presentations to visitors to Formby Nature reserve about what it’s like to be a squirrel…? Carrying a nut for each visitor not unlike a fortune cookie…?

More information about the artwork and how it will be developed to appear here soon.

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